Her Story of Success In Review: Food & Beverage

“I definitely had a lot of frustrating moments along the path… but I think my passion was enough to carry me through that. It kept on putting me on a path to where I am right now.”

– Maneet Chauhan

Inspiring Conversations, Revisited

Her Story of Success recently went through a rebranding process to help us better reflect where our company is today while also preparing for Season Next. But even as we look ahead to where we want to go, it’s important to also remember where we came from. With Her Story of Success in Review, we’re revisiting some of our favorite conversations, giving you another chance to be inspired by the amazing women who helped mentor and shape Her Story of Success into the company we are today. 

In this episode, Mignon Francois, Jessi Baker, Laura Lea Bryant and Maneet Chauhan share their stories of carving out space for themselves in the historically male-dominated food and beverage industry. 

Their Stories of Success

Mignon Francois was living on her last $5 when a neighbor asked to order cupcakes from her home bakery. Mignon took that $5 and continued to multiply, eventually building The Cupcake Collection into a multi-million dollar business. Mignon’s bakery helped revitalize her Nashville neighborhood, and she’s been honored as a Woman of Legend and Merit by Tennessee State University and an Emerging Business Leader of the Year. The Cupcake Collection, which now includes locations in Nashville and New Orleans, also won Black Enterprise Magazine’s Family Business of the Year Award.  Listen to Mignon’s full episode here.

While working full-time as an attorney, Jessi Baker started Ole Smoky as a side hustle with her husband and two friends, never imagining what it would one day become. Today, Ole Smoky is the most visited distillery in the world, and its moonshine is sold in all 50 states and 53 countries. Jessi now develops Ole Smoky food products, recently writing a cookbook that features cocktails and family recipes for true Southern food. She and her family have become serial entrepreneurs, opening four distilleries and businesses like Bootleggers Homemade Wine and Yee Haw Brewing. Listen to Jessi’s full episode here.

Laura Lea Bryant* fell in love with cooking when she was a recent college graduate, struggling to enjoy her life in New York City and looking for ways to heal her body and mind. That personal journey soon turned into a deep passion for food and wellness. Laura Lea attended the National Gourmet Institute to become a certified holistic chef, and has since built a career as a successful recipe developer, writer and voice behind the website LL Balanced. Laura Lea also just released her second cookbook, Simply Laura Lea.  Listen to Laura Lea’s full episode here.

Even as a child growing up in India, Maneet Chauhan always knew she wanted to be a chef. With her parents’ encouragement, Maneet attended hospitality school in her home country, and then moved to the U.S. to attend the Culinary Institute of America. Today, Maneet is a world-renowned restaurateur, Food Network Star and writer. After working as a chef at top restaurants in New York and Chicago, Maneet and her husband co-founded Morph Hospitality Group, and she’s opened four restaurants and two breweries in Nashville. Maneet is also a regular judge on Food Network’s Chopped, and she’s the only Indian woman to ever compete on Iron Chef. Listen to Maneet’s full episode here. 

Episode Transcript

*Correction: In the episode we referred to Laura Lea Bryant with the incorrect last name. We apologize for the error.